Ex-Mineola Mayor Scott Strauss touts record, public safety in county bid

Ex-Mineola Mayor Scott Strauss touts record, public safety in county bid
Ex-Mineola Mayor Scott Strauss, pictured previously. (Photo courtesy of Mill Creek Residential)

Former Mineola Mayor Scott Strauss said if elected to the Nassau County Legislature, he would prioritize holding the line on taxes, preserving the quality of life the 9th District expects and maintaining the safety and security of the county. 

“I just enjoy the community service,” Strauss said in an interview with Blank Slate Media. “I enjoy helping people and being part of a problem-solving group.”

Strauss, 60, is the vice president of corporate security at Northwell Healtha and running for the county’s 9th District seat on the Republican and Conservative Party lines. He is up  against Democrat challenger Neeraj Kumar. 

The seat has been held by Presiding Officer Rich Nicolello (R-New Hyde Park), who is not seeking re-election after serving in the county for nearly 30 years. According to new maps approved earlier this year, the 9th District now includes Bellerose, Bellerose Terrace, East Williston, Garden City Park, New Hyde Park, North New Hyde Park, Roslyn Heights and parts of Floral Park, Garden City and Mineola.

During his 11 years as mayor of Mineola before deciding not to seek re-election in 2022, Strauss said he had a unique perspective on the housing crisis in the county. Strauss oversaw part of the implementation of Mineola’s master plan that began in 2004 and is still being implemented now, which includes new downtown streetscapes, a parking garage and new transit-oriented mixed-use buildings, among other things.

“What local municipalities need to consider with the increase in housing is if the infrastructure can handle it,” Strauss said. “We made sure that our village could handle the influx.”

Earlier this year, Gov. Kathy Hochul proposed ahead of this year’s state budget to prioritize state-mandated zoning over local control when considering new developments on Long Island.

Strauss added that the solutions that work for Mineola may not work elsewhere and that deciding on what worked in Mineola was a result of doing “your homework,” building community engagement and speaking to experts to make the best decisions possible.

Strauss said the village of Mineola goes through reassessment every year and encourages Nassau County residents to grieve their taxes to make sure they are paying their fair share. Strauss said fixing assessment issues in the county is necessary and while he is not on the Legislature at the moment, he believes a phase-in approach is worth looking into.

“There’s a lot of things to consider, a lot of comments to be heard and suggestions and we should really sit and hear all of it and figure this out because it has to be done,” Strauss said. “You’ll never get to the finish line if you don’t start walking.”

Strauss is a retired detective from the Emergency Service Unit of the New York Police Department. Among his numerous awards is the NYPD’s Medal of Honor for his recovery efforts during the Sept. 11 attacks where he and his team rescued two Port Authority police officers trapped in the rubble of the World Trade Center. 

Strauss said he believes the Nassau County Police Department is doing a tremendous job and that he would like them to get more resources. He said he’s not aware if the department has staffing to analyze and distribute its crime stats on a month-to-month basis but would look into it if elected.  

“In my opinion, and I see it in healthcare, people are more aggressive, they’re driving more aggressive,” Strauss said. “I’m a believer in the broken window theory: if you take care of the small things they’ll be taken care of before they become big things.”

Strauss added that the police should be as transparent as possible and that he personally is embarrassed when seeing negative press about police misconduct anywhere. 

On New York’s migrant crisis, Strauss said more screening has to be done to make sure people seeking asylum are coming into the country and that it would be hard to ask taxpayers to pay the cost of housing any migrants in Nassau. Strauss continued to say the federal government should have a plan and have done a better job preparing.

Strauss said he is in favor of the county approving a lease to permit the Sands Las Vegas casino to be built in Uniondale because it was the proposal that was put in front of them and the current Legislature did its due diligence to make the best decision for Nassau.

“This is better than vacant land and becoming an eyesore,” Strauss said.

Strauss said the 9th District should vote for him to be their next county representative because of his record as mayor and lifelong commitment to public service. The ex-mayor said he’s ready after 1 1/2 years removed from his mayorship in Mineola to continue giving back to the community. 

“I’ve been in community service since I was probably a cub scout,” Strauss said. “At the end of the day, I believe I am the guy that could do the job and that I could work together with everybody.”

Strauss’ interview with Blank Slate Media can be found on YouTube.

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